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If the Sedins get hurt blocking shots, ‘so be it,’ says Torts

Sep 17, 2013, 12:59 PM EDT

Image (1) GYI0060387074-sedins-lam-getty-thumb-250x190-21546.jpg for post 6021 Getty Images

Back in June, when John Tortorella was introduced as the new head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, much was made of his pronouncement that the Sedin twins would be expected to block shots under his watch — something they didn’t do much of under the last bench boss, Alain Vigneault.

What if the twins got hurt, people asked? Is it really worth it to put your best players at risk like that?

Well, Tortorella had an answer for those questions in a Q&A with

“They’re going to be killing penalties and I hope they do [block shots] because I know both Danny and Hank want more,” Tortorella said. “In my conversations with them this summer they want more. I’ve told the team I’m going to ask more out of everybody on this club and they’ve embraced that. For them to get more they’re going to be put in more situations, not just offensively but away from the puck and killing penalties, and they can be very dangerous people killing penalties. So if they’re going to kill penalties they’re going to end up blocking some shots. As they see that I think they’re going to feel better about themselves that they’re becoming complete players because that’s the way they think.

“The next question that I’m sure is going to be asked is what if they get hurt. So be it. You need to play the game the right way. You get injuries in a lot of different ways. You need to play the game the right way and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

The Sedins have been remarkably durable during their careers. In fact, Henrik Sedin is behind only Jay Bouwmeester on the NHL’s active ironman streak. (Daniel has been a bit less lucky when it comes to injuries, but overall he’s stayed pretty healthy.)

While it’s unlikely the twins are going to turn into Vancouver’s version of Ryan Callahan and Brian Boyle under Torts, it’s clear the new coach is trying to change the culture of a Canucks team he feels was too easy to play against before he arrived.

Related: Tortorella calls shot-blocking critics ‘idiots’

  1. gscheelar - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    Really? I do not see the Sedins blocking shots on a consistent basis. Torts being Torts is going to drive them away from re-signing in Vancouver. That may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your position on them as players, but losing the face(s) of the franchise at the end of the season for nothing is going to sting.

    BTW, you do not have to throw yourself in front of 100 mph rubber to play the game the right way.

    John Tortorella will not last 3 years in Vancouver with his approach to player management or to the media. His crybaby rant about a cellphone yesterday is just the opening volley in his destructive and malicious attitude toward the media.

    • davebabychreturns - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      This seems just a bit over the top to me.

      I suspect the Sedins will not block many shots because over most of their careers they’ve been underrated two-way players (the exception being the last few years) and over all of their careers they have driven play in the right direction much more often than not.

      They will get in front of shots if and when they have to like everyone else on this team, but like most elite players they won’t have to very much. The guys that block the most shots (with the exception of the Keslers, Callahans, Toews type players who are called upon in the toughest defensive situations.. 3-on-5, etc) are the ones who suck at playing hockey and get hemmed into their own zone on a regular basis.

      As for Tortorella’s shelf life, we’ll see what happens but based on your comments about his comment (not “crybaby rant,” comment) make it pretty clear you have an axe to grind on the subject so I’ll just leave it at that.

      • mp1131211 - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:39 PM

        I think (s)he has a number of good points. I happen to disagree about having to block shots, and most shots aren’t up there in 100mph range. Some are, no doubt. But blocking is becoming a required part of defense, though I doubt its really that dangerous on a percentage basis (injuries / blocked shots). Torts’ argument is that everyone has to do what it takes to win.

    • kaptaanamerica - Sep 17, 2013 at 8:46 PM

      Wrong and wrong again. The Sedins aren’t going anywhere.they will retire Canucks.Torts is doing everything right so far.Av Molly coddled his favourites like Raymond who was totally useless. T torts will not be playing favourites and will hold his players accountable for the ice time they receive.

      I’m hoping guys like Santorelli have really good camp and make the team out of camp.I don’t want the young guys coming in too early.maybe if there are injuries.

  2. amityvillefun - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:19 PM


    Maybe they are like the Corsican Brothers….you blast a shot off one, but the other twin feels it!

    Hockey is a tough sport. Shot blocking is a part of that. Ask Greg Campbell, he can tell you all about it.

    • hockey412 - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:52 PM

      I don’t think anyone was questioning anyone’s toughness or desire to block shots. The question is whether it’s good coaching/team management to put them in that spot. Greg Campbell wasn’t relied upon to score goals on a team that needs to score goals…so do you put the twins in that spot, where you might further harm the team if they do get their leg broken, or put players on your third and fourth lines that are good penalty killers.

      • kaptaanamerica - Sep 17, 2013 at 8:56 PM

        Torts is letting the players know he has one standard not like AV who plays favourites even when guys are playing like shiite. Guys who are performing well play other guys won’t. People want to know that good play will be rewarded, not like when Ballard would make one mistake and be benched when Edler or bieksa would do the same thing without any complaints or even lose a shift. Don’t even talk about the free passes Raymond had on this team. No way Raymond should have been kept instead of Grabner, except that A/V liked Raymond.

  3. pastabelly - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    What’s Torts shelf life in Vancouver. I’d like to think a healthy Campbell (and Iginla accepting the B’s trade) might have made a difference for the Bruins last year.

    • hockey412 - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:47 PM

      Relevance of your thoughts on the Bruins to this article?

    • hockey412 - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      Ah – nevermind – I got it now. Was a little slow.

      I think his half-life is half up.

      • pastabelly - Sep 17, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        Not sure what you mean by half lie. In any case, I believe there was value in Campbell in blocking a shot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. I don’t believe Torts strategy of blocking shots in the regular season carries the same value versus the risk. If a Sedin lost a season from blocking a shot, Torts would be proven to be a clown, even beyond his pressers.

      • hockey412 - Sep 18, 2013 at 8:23 AM

        Yeah, got that, sorry it just took me a minute – I agree.

  4. jcmeyer10 - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    Something tells me Torts would approve of the Happy Gilmore method of training to get tougher.

  5. pirovash88 - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Sedins: “You mean, IF we block shots”

  6. earpaniac - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    I understand trying to change the culture, but it doesn’t seem like you’d take that risk with your franchise players. You can play defense without doing that.

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      Pretty tough to win a cup without it

  7. joey4id - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    “You need to play the game the right way.” Way to throw the previous coach under the bus. Torts! Only you know the right way to play the game. Train wreck is a coming. Vancouver is going to be the “funniest place to be” in the NHL this year. Have fun Vancouverites.

  8. bhawksforever9 - Sep 17, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Torts is responsible for understanding the strengths of the team. The twins blocking shots on the PK is not the strength of this team. Remember when the Hawks tried to play John Scott on defense ? and the guy kept falling down, so they switched him to offense to hide him, same with Big Buff and it worked well. My guess is they do it a few games and he switches it back. Torts makes good copy, but is he really helping the team popping off every day or so. The elite coaches in the league dont do these things

  9. avfanforlife - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    I’m perfectly fine with having Torts coaching in BC and Roy here in CO! Perfectly fine with that.

  10. ethanmacleod1685 - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    You can’t make players do things you want, look what happened to Ovechkin. Let them just go out there and do their job, score goals. Tortorella will ruin this team, mark my words. This isn’t 2004. It’s about speed and skill now, not screening your own goalie to block a shot, that’s the goalies job. What’s next, getting goalies to score goals. Let forwards score goals, let defensman defend and let goalies stop the pucks

  11. skr213 - Sep 17, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Maybe I’m just old, but I don’t understand the Torts hating. He tells it like it is and wants players to play real old-time tough hockey. We need more people like Torts in hockey – and in society in general!

    • avfanforlife - Sep 17, 2013 at 7:04 PM

      WELL: He goes out of his way to be a complete @SS to the press and most decent people find him to lack any class whatsoever. Compared to say, Claude Noel, who is respectful regardless of the question asked (yes – some questions are BEYOND lame). You can be a good coach, teach old style hockey, and be respectful at the same time skr213.

  12. vancityjames - Sep 17, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    Boy, you guys are gullible. Of course Torts SAYS the Sedins will block shots, but that’s just for public consumption. If they don’t do it, do you think he’ll bench them?

  13. mp1131211 - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    Anyone have a percentage for number of injuries per blocked shots?

    • mp1131211 - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:32 PM

      Its gotta be super low.

  14. blomfeld - Sep 17, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    “You need to play the game the right way” …

    The season hasn’t even started, yet you can’t help but admire this new spirit of ‘elan’ which Torts is trying to bring to the Canucks eh? The old saying that ‘to win all you must risk all’ was never truer than in this context. And besides, this new doctrine will now afford the excellent Sedin brothers the opportunity to finally refute that hurtful label of ‘SISTERS’ which so many of you ‘malicious’ people here have been fond of using. I for one therefore hope that the Sedins are now up to the challenge and willing to take a chance ! :)

    GO TORTS !!!


    • hawkeedawg - Sep 17, 2013 at 11:28 PM

      Wow Blomfeld, I rarely agree with you, but I do agree 100% with you on this post.

      • kaptaanamerica - Sep 18, 2013 at 2:32 AM

        I might not disagree with him but still don’t like to see him posting on the Canucks thread.

    • slysipops - Sep 18, 2013 at 9:24 PM

      BLOMFELD you are too funny! where do you dig all this crap up from? oh yeah….was the blond girl DANIEL and the brunette HENRIECK ?

      • blomfeld - Sep 19, 2013 at 2:33 AM

        May it be that the commenter known as ‘Slysipops’ soon comes to encounter ‘lakes’ of expensive wine and ‘armies’ of highly attractive women … inshallah ! And may it be that the infidels known as kaptaanamerica & hawkeedawg are soon intercepted and ‘dealt with’ by lead elements of the 4th SS Panzer Division, Special Action Unit Blomfeld, Army Group Center … inshallah !

      • slysipops - Sep 20, 2013 at 5:18 PM

        thanks for the “fine wine” as for the women….. i’m all set there but thanks bud !

  15. clamchowda22 - Sep 18, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    The twins have always been one dimensional players – slow the game down and play the cycle down low. It is because of this that they have never truly shined in the playoffs when the forecheck pressure is at it’s highest. Rarely would you ever see a goal, or even a golden scoring chance for that matter, off the rush. It will be interesting to see what else they can bring to the table, and since we already know they’re the best at what they’ve been doing, I foresee a much more exciting to watch Nucks team this year. Good for you Torts! Your best players need to be your best in all situations. Your best players need to PLAY. Or you lose. Again. And again.

  16. slysipops - Sep 18, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    WAY back when the NUCKS first brought TORTS on board i said it would be a new world on CANUCK ICE ! if one of the sisters blocks a shot and breaks a leg or something ( which i do hope does not happen ) i wonder if the NUCK fans faithful will tar and feather TORTS and send him on his way out of town ,dragging behind a train. or maybe do like the south american soccer fans did to the ref who made a bad call ( so they thought) costing the home team a championship…..they attacked and beheaded him and stuck his head on a pole sticking in the middle of the field ! the ice is much harder so maybe TORTS head would just be set on top of one of the goal nets ?

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